An interview – The winner of the FPL Updates league

Congratulations on your superb season, winning the FPL Updates league and hanging onto the top 10 finish. How did you spend that day and how did you feel going into the final day?

Thank you very much. I spent the day as I have spent most the season, watching the games at home with my housemates with flash scores up on another laptop. It wasn’t a nervous day at all as I didn’t think I could win. I was just playing for as high a position as possible and hoping to enjoy some good football.

Going into the final day, did you really believe that you had a chance of clawing back the gap between yourself and Simon March?

I was 42 points behind him going into the final day and didn’t really believe it was possible. I felt he had it in the bag and that if there was any chance of catching him in the final week the lead had to be below 20 points. I thought I would give it a shot as I wanted to win and didn’t care about my rank other than that. I took some wild gambles in order to differentiate my team but it wasn’t to be. I hadn’t really considered Theo Walcott who was the man to bring in and captain!

This is your fourth FPL season, with 9697 being your highest rank prior to 2014/15. Did you approach this term differently and apply any new strategies?

No, not really. I probably spent more time researching statistics and on the forums this year but that is inevitable with having a good rank I think. I am always quite frugal when it comes to transfer hits and this season was the same. I keep a close eye on price rises and try not to jump onto bandwagons where the statistics don’t match the output. I think the main difference this year was the great early rank, top 3000 in gameweek 1, and of course a lot of luck!

Season highs and lows?

The best moment of the season was gameweek 8 when I scored a century in a single game week. It came about after Aguero (C) scored four, as well as missing a penalty, and Tadic grabbed a massive 23 points. I had been telling my friends, and anyone else who would listen, that Tadic would explode and I transferred him in to my team the week before. His haul helped me jump from 28,683 to 2,091 and really set my season alight.

The gameweek 34 wildcard, which pushed me up to 2nd overall was also a particular highlight and I made sure to screenshot the overall league tables and my game week history to capture this moment!

The worst moment of the season was towards the end of the year when I decided to gamble and captain Sanchez instead of captaining Aguero at home to QPR. I realised this was a massive risk but I only cared about coming top overall. There are no prizes for anyone other than number 1, so I gambled and as everyone knows it massively backfired.

What was your best transfer or captaincy decision this season? Conversely, were there any decisions that you can look back on now which may have stopped you winning overall?

Probably the best decision of the season was the captaincy of Charlie Austin in gameweek 17. The majority of the game captained Costa away at Stoke City, but I decided to punt on Austin. Costa had not been scoring many goals leading up to this game and I fancied Stoke to keep it tight with Austin standing a chance of scoring at home against the weak West Brom defence. What I didn’t expect was WBA to take a two goal lead before Austin hit back, completing his hat trick in the 86 minute. The hat trick helped me achieve a gameweek rank of 7,281 and it propelled me towards the top 100, which I reached the week after.

My moment of madness was in gameweek 25 when the Arsenal line up came out before the deadline closed. Already without Sanchez, I hastily rushed Giroud and Sterling out for Defoe and Sanchez when I saw that Giroud was being rested and Sanchez was up front. Neither player scored any points, Giroud came back into the Arsenal line up the week after and went on a scoring purple patch with goals in the last 3 game weeks and Defoe failed to score at all. A waste of transfers and a valuable lesson learned – don’t make rash last minute transfers!

Possibly my worst transfer this season, based on watching him score 5 goals in as many weeks, was the transfer of Sahko in gameweek 11. In he came for Danny Welbeck, only for him to score 2 points, 0 points and then not play for the next 4 game weeks. Needless to say I transferred him out asap.

You used your wildcard very late this year, in gameweek 34 the same week as the eventual winner. Was there any reason for this?

There were two main reasons for this. My initial plan is always to save it as long as possible. If you can save it for a late double gameweek, then you can massively jump up the ranks as shown by my surge from 13th to 4th overall. However, this is only possible if you have a good start to the season points wise and also staying clear of injuries and suspensions. It was also easier to save it this season as there were fewer price rises in comparison to previous years, so I didn’t feel I was losing much overall team value. Next season I also hope to save my wildcard for a late double gameweek, but it is a case of seeing how the first few game weeks go.

Can you describe how your season has affected your day to day life and your relationships with friends and family?

Considering the amount of time I have spent watching football, researching the game and writing articles, the friends and family have all been very supportive. My housemates, who also play the game, have seen any chance of a mini league victory end after about week 10 and have had to listen to me witter on about my team for most the year. They have been very giving with advice and have all followed my team as it progressed. My Twitter following has grown massively and I have even been interviewed for The Tab, the national student newspaper, as well as featuring as the guest star on the Fantasy Football Scout podcast. Quite a season!

Are you intending to play again next year? Are you going to play any differently?

Yes I am most definitely going to play next season – there is room for improvement! I realise that I am unlikely to ever have as good a season again but am going to give it another go. I will initially play the same as this season but I think the beauty of this game is that each season is different to the last. It will require everyone to adapt to the price change frequency, the small changes that the site brings in and also the football climate.

Any tips that you stick by to give to everyone reading this?

Try and keep 2 transfers. Having two transfers not only reduces the need for a points hit, something which I try to avoid, but also offers a much greater degree of flexibility when it comes to making transfers. Saving a transfer also suggests that you are not being swayed by an instant bandwagon that arises after a player slots home a few goals. This is something that separates the top 10,000 from the more casual player. Over 50,000 rushed to bring Jon Walters in after his hat trick but it was unwise as he has failed to score in the five game weeks after.

Anything else Jack?

You can find me on Twitter @jawain04 where I will be happy to answer any questions about this past season or plans for next season!

Thanks Jack and good luck next season!

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